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Sherburn Hill School, County Durham

Volume 638: debated on Thursday 29 March 2018

The petition of residents of Sherburn Hill,

Declares that the proposed closure of Sherburn Hill school in County Durham is contrary to the wishes of the local residents and that children will have to attend other schools in other villages; further that the community at Sherburn Hill have already lost all other existing community facilities, including a Sure Start centre and a community centre, and that the closure of this school will represent the closure of the last communal indoor space in the village; further that Durham County Council have not fully investigated other options for keeping the school open.

The petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Government to call on Durham County Council to reconsider the decision to close Sherburn Hill school.

And the petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented by Dr Roberta Blackman-Woods, Official Report, 6 February 2018; Vol. 635, c. 1464.]


Observations from the Minister for School Standards (Nick Gibb):

Local authorities are under a statutory duty to ensure that there are sufficient school places in their area to meet the needs of the local population. This includes reviewing provision where populations have grown or declined. Consequently, local authorities have the power to close additional sites of community schools.

All decisions relating to significant changes at maintained schools are taken at a local level. Ministers and departmental officials do not have a role in these decisions. The final decision on proposals to close an additional site of a community school are made by the local authority.

If a local authority wishes to propose the closure of an additional site for a maintained school, they must follow the process set out in the School Organisation (Prescribed Alterations to Maintained Schools) (England) Regulations 2013. The process for making changes to existing maintained schools follows a well-established four-stage statutory process.